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4 Ways to Market to Frugal Customers

Date: February 16, 2010

Even as spending picks up, the fact remains that today’s consumers have tightened their belts, and every small business from the tire shop to the coffee shop to the flower shop is feeling the effects of America’s newfound frugality. Luckily, being cost conscious doesn’t necessarily mean being cheap, but it does mean being smarter about the products and services one buys. Miss your customers, even the frugal ones? Here are four ways you can help win them back:

1. Offer a cash discount: Frugal doesn’t necessarily mean cheap, but cheap helps. Many consumers have tossed the credit cards and replaced them with cash. Reward them for this frugal behavior by offering a 10 percent discount on cash purchases. They’ll save -- and you will, too, with fewer credit card processing fees.

2. Lower your prices: Take a look at your spreadsheets to figure out which prices you can lower without taking a big hit. If you can’t manage a permanent price cut, consider holding sale days -- 25 percent off regularly priced merchandise, perhaps, or an extra 30 percent off sale items. When you tell customers about the new prices and promotions, make it clear to them that you are doing this to support them in their efforts to be smarter shoppers.

3. Promote high quality: Sometimes it pays to spend more for higher quality. If that’s the case with your products and services, explain that. Remember, being frugal means being smarter about money. If you can show a frugal customer that your product at a higher price over time will cost him or her less than a competitor’s product at a lower price, then you have a better chance at making that sale.

4. Go local (and green): What are many smart shoppers looking for these days? The trends now are buying local and buying from stores that support sustainable practices. There might be other trends in your specific region. Whatever the trend, capitalize on it in your business.

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